When I was a little girl, I would dream of marrying someone talk, dark and handsome. I giggled with my friends as we marched around the yard with dandelion bouquets and old linens draped around us. I imagined life being magical once tying the knot, and I couldn’t wait to find the man of my dreams.
Turns out I didn’t have to wait very long. Only about a decade or so later, he waltzed right into my life.
We had a whirlwind romance. I love telling people about it, just for the shock factor. We met at a worship conference on a frozen January night, and even though we told everyone we were “just friends” no one was buying it, so we started officially dating three weeks later. In May he met my parents, who sat him down and quizzed him on his life, his theological stand point, and anything else under the sun for three hours. A month later, he proposed. And four months later, we had a sweet fall wedding.
There was nothing untoward about our quick nuptials, we just knew we loved each other and were ready to dive on in. And so we did.
After a few months we had a surprise pregnancy, and just a few short weeks after our first anniversary we welcomed the sweetest baby boy. Two years later, another little bundle of joy and our family was complete. And that’s when life really happened.
As a girl, I dreamed of marriage as magical. And I suppose it does have those magical moments that would be perfect for the movies. I can certainly think of a few things he’s said that I’ll hold in my heart forever. But the thing about marriage is that it’s intertwined with life, and life has a way of throwing punches.
Life has gut punched us a few times. Heartbreaking moments that have shaken me to the core. Strangely (and wonderfully) enough, he never seems to be too phased by life’s unglamorous interventions. Which is a good thing, because I’m always the first one to react (or overreact). He’s the calm to my crazy.
When we got married, a few people said it wouldn’t last. This year will be fifteen years married, and I’m more in line with him now than ever. A lot of people ask how we manage to stay together through so many tumultuous events and happenstances. I never know what to answer, but there’s a few key things, I expect.
First and foremost, he’s not my rock. I know it’s strange, since people say that in good marriages, but he’s not. How could he be, when he’s human and makes mistakes? I can’t be his either. I definitely make mistakes, and lots of them. “For who is God, besides the Lord? And who is the Rock, besides our God?” (2 Samuel 22:32) No matter what life throws our way, we don’t need to be each other’s rock – because we stand on the Rock that can’t be moved.
Secondly, I can’t stop laughing. Bust a gut, splitting sides laughing. We make each other laugh. We enjoy laughing together. Our lives and our marriage are filled with so many hard things, things that could break us – but we laugh. Laughter is such a gift. “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
Thirdly, we treat each other with respect in private and in public. My husband is a nurse, and he works with primarily other women. Oftentimes they’ll sit in the staff room complaining about their husbands, but he refuses to participate. I love this about him. He doesn’t talk down about me anywhere, any place at any time (and I’m sure I’ve given him plenty of ammunition). And I do the same for him. We live in an age when we could spew all our frustrations about our spouse to the world within seconds, but that’s not helpful or kind. “Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another.” (Romans 12:10)
Our marriage isn’t magical. It’s not as dreamy as I thought it would be when I danced around with my linen draped friends in the afternoon sun. But it is a precious gift from God. And one I always thank God for. My husband is my best friend, my helper, my confidante, my companion, my sidekick, and my love. And I am so thankful, so grateful he’s my valentine for another year. ❤️
This was published as part of Telling Hearts June series. We invite you to enjoy more from the series if you missed it>> just click here. More messy, true, and wonderful, awaits you!